Appleton C of E Primary School

Forest School

What is Forest School?

‘A chance for all children to experience nature, grow their skill sets and develop an individual connection with the outdoors.’ 

Forest School is a child-led learning experience, in a natural environment, which allows all children to develop skills and confidence through a series of ongoing, planned and reviewed sessions. At Appleton C of E School the year groups that have Forest School have one session a week at a set time. The sessions are run by Mrs. Prior-Holt, a level 3 Forest School Leader, and supported by a Forest School assistant and other staff and volunteers.  

 Why do we do Forest School? 

Forest School is a space where children can develop practical skills, confidence, team building skills, communication skills, resilience, physical strength, creativity and independence. They can also develop a connection with nature, discover wildlife and take supported risks. As it is child-led, the children gain a sense of ownership and responsibility about their Forest School space and activities. Forest School is also fun: a time designed for all children to learn through play, experiments and new experiences.  

What do we do in Forest School? 

Forest School sessions are planned, but the children take the lead, so the sessions are flexible and adapted to areas the children are showing real interest in, or topics they really want to learn more about. There are many activities we have done and many more to come, but some of the regular ones, and our favourites are: 

  • Mud kitchen: mud pies, cakes, pizzas and more are served up in our excellent café!  
  • Den building: tents and multi-room dens have been made with tarpaulins, sticks and rope.  
  • Magic wands: sticks and wool become magic wands for freezing teachers!  
  • Using saws and knives for cutting and whittling 
  • Fire lighting and safety 
  • Lots of nature crafts 
  • Learning knots 
  • Bug hunting: slugs, snails, millipedes, woodlice and even a newt are just some of the things we have found so far.  
  • Bird watching: robins, blackbirds, blue tits, red kites and more have been recorded on the site
  • Reflection time: we take time to reflect on the session and how we are feeling, or just have some time to be still and listen to the sounds around us

Depending on the weather and what we are doing, there is a chance there will be a lot of mud, and that we will be moving muddy things, sitting on wet grass or generally getting a bit messy. This is all part of the experience, the learning and the fun, but also why it is important to have the right clothes for Forest School. These need to be clothes that you don’t mind getting messy.  

Summer (to protect from scratches, stings and sun): 

  • Long sleeve top  
  • Long trousers (no shorts) 
  • Sun hat 
  • Sun cream 
  • Sturdy shoes (boots or trainers) 
  • Light waterproofs if needed 
  • Water bottle 


  • Long sleeve tops 
  • Long trousers 
  • Waterproofs 
  • Warm coat 
  • Gloves 
  • Hat 
  • Wellies/waterproof boots 

We do have some spare clothes if needed.  

How to get involved 

Volunteers are welcome! If you would like to come and help with a session, please do let us know.  

There are also plenty of activities you can do at home. One we enjoyed during Children’s Mental Health Week was a ‘Sit Spot’.  

Sit Spot: 

This is simply sitting outside, somewhere you feel comfortable, and taking a few quiet minutes to to identify what you can see, hear and feel. At the end you can share what you saw, heard and how it made you feel. You will often find that wildlife will come closer to you while you sit, that you hear things you hadn’t picked up on before, and that it’s nice to give yourself some time to just be.  

Blu (Yr2) said after the Sit Spot ‘Ah that was lovely, so relaxing!’ 

Margaux (Yr3) said it made her feel ‘happy and safe.’